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basement renovation: THE BIG REVEAL

It’s taken a while to get here, but here we are — the final reveal of our big bad basement renovation! Let’s go back for a sec. You’ve seen how we’ve:

And all of that in 7 weeks (while both working full-time). Phew! Here is the final product, room by room:


The living room went from dingy, cold and damp to bright, cozy and spacious.


The kitchen is probably my favourite post-reno space. Partly because I adore the glowy-green vibe, and probably also because it feels like the biggest feat considering the pre-reno space.


Creating the huge window and window well was what really made the transformation in the bedroom. You wouldn’t even know that we made the bedroom a bit smaller (we pushed the wall in a little to make the living room larger) — with that big window and good-sized closet, it feels spacious and has more than enough room for a big bed, dresser, and desk.


I would have loved to do more of a gut-job to the bathroom and replaced the flooring and tub, but it just wasn’t in the cards this time around due to a tight budget and timeline. We did, however, give it a minor face-lift to bring it out of the 1980’s with a new sink, faucet and toilet, and some good old-fashioned paint.


We took the laundry from the old storage room (which became the kitchen) and moved it into a newly-built closet at the bottom of the stairs. This means it is in the shared part of the house so both upstairs and downstairs tenants can access it without bothering one another. I have grand plans later on to do something more fun to this space — maybe some graphic wallpaper or bright paint with some decals, but for now it is clean and functional.


This is the area at the bottom of the stairs which used to house a big ugly oil tank. After switching up to a high-efficiency natural gas furnace, we were able to get rid of the tank and make the space more useful. The original plan had been to build some more permanent shelving, but we just simply ran short on time. Once we’re back in the house, this project will be back on the to-do list.


When we created the kitchen area, we closed off the furnace and made a small but efficient furnace room. Sure it’s not the prettiest of rooms, but it’s a great space to store dirtier items — especially those that you can’t put out in the garage (like paint for example, which shouldn’t be out in the cold garage over the winter).

On the last night, after finishing up all the final details and moving all of our stuff out of the house (as we were leaving for our new adventure to England), we were a mixture of exhausted, thrilled, and slightly delirious. Here is the evidence (please keep in mind that it was about 1AM at this point):

So there you have it folks, a transformed basement. I would have loved to be able to actually decorate it — pick out furniture, artwork, accessories, etc. — but since it’s meant for a tenant, I did everything I could to hold back. Luckily, after only one week of posting ads and showing the space, we rented it out to a really lovely nurse who has made the space her own.

It was definitely one of the most satisfying projects that both Dan and I had ever worked on. Thanks to all the family, friends and neighbourly support along the way. A special HUGE thank you to my Daddio who not only kicked into high gear with some serious skilled labour, but who also gave us tons of guidance and definitely taught both Dan and I a thing or two (or ten?) about building.

And now, a sigh of relief… and the day-dreaming of the next renovation begins!

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  • Woo hoo!

    I’ve been waiting for the reveal post with bated breath. And it looks incredible! The MoMs and I have been discussing and daydreaming about our own basement reno and reading about your adventures is definitely inspiring.

    Great job!

    • Thanks Ned!!

      How has your master bedroom makeover gone? Send pics my way!!

      gem xo

      • nadinethornhill

        The makeover continues slowly, but surely. The new bed has been ordered, wallpaper has arrived and will be hung next weekend when my in-laws come to visit and the search for the perfect bedding continues.

        I will definitely post pictures when it all comes together.


  • Courtney

    It really does look great! I’m so glad everything had worked out (including a tenant!) prior to your new move. It looks awesome, and my fave parts are definitely the flooring and that kitchen’s green!


    • Thanks Courtney (both for your comments AND lending a helping hand in the reno process)! Much appreciated.

      gem xo

  • Farrar

    I cannot cannot cannot believe the before and afters! Hard to imagine they’re even the same rooms! So well done, congratulations to both of you! So, what are you going to do in all your spare time when you get home lol? Hope to talk with you soon xo fb

  • KateB

    Wow!! I’m so impressed! It’s great to see it all together–and I can’t wait to see what you do with it when you get back! Hope England is treating you well. xoxoxo

  • Andrea

    I’m late to comment but it LOOKS FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! Whoot whoot!

    • Thanks!! Will have to have you and the little lady over to see it in person when we’re back :)


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